Pontiac's plan to re-establish itself as General Motors' performance division will pick up speed in August when the 260-hp Solstice GXP arrives at dealerships.
The Pontiac Solstice GXP packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with variable valve timing and direct injection. It will be introduced this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
With 260 hp coming from just 2.0 liters, the GXP's engine has a higher output per liter than any engine GM has ever made, says spokesman Tom Read. It's also the first GM engine for North America with gasoline direct injection.
The GXP's fuel system moves the injectors off the intake manifold and onto the cylinder head. With gasoline direct injection, fuel is precisely aimed and controlled in the combustion chambers, resulting in a fuel and air mixture that creates more power.
"What we are trying to achieve with this engine is not only the high power but also good low-end torque and response," said Ed Groff, assistant chief engineer for the 2.0-liter Ecotec engine.
Pontiac says the Solstice GXP will reach 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than its main rival, the Honda S2000, and a full 2 seconds quicker than the new Mazda MX-5 Miata.
The GXP package includes dual exhaust and stability control. It will carry a price premium of $4,000 to $5,000. The base Solstice, which has a 177-hp 2.4-liter engine, starts at $19,995, including shipping.
The rival S2000 starts at $34,600, including shipping. There is no comparable high-performance Mazda Miata model.
You may e-mail Richard Truett at [email protected]